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Adam Chabukiani: Defying All Odds

The story of a young Georgian refugee, born through the chaos of the Abkhazia War to find his feet in the footballing world.
Started on 5 October 2015 by Jack
Latest Reply on 5 July 2019 by Justice
14 May 2016

Euphoria. I swear, I'd not seen anything like this. In fact I'll rephrase that - I'd never felt anything like this. Never. This was completely unnatural to me, and fuck... It felt good.

Imagine a place where you are surrounded by packs of twelve men, all grown men, aching to get their hands on you in the name of delight.

Men in their sixties, seventies, eighties at a push. They are joining in the group of collective joy as if they were forty years younger. I had never experienced anything quite like this.

Yes, I had made it into the first-team at Leeds United in the glory years, albeit for a car crash putting my career on the brink before it had begun. Yes, I had kept Bradford City not only away from relegation, but away from death. Yes, my career ended here, on this very turf that I am running around right now, arms aloft, men, women, children - the entire community singing my name.

It had all led to this very moment.

I was going to be 29 years old in a couple of months, life as a football manager was only just sprouting from the roots of Abkhazia all them years ago. The terror, the tears, the hatred. It was all training for this moment.

Anyone could go and get a coaching badge to 'qualify' themselves as a coach, but I have had more than that. I have had the mental dysfunction from a young child, I had gotten over that, and here I was. I have just taken Bradford Park Avenue - the place I have called 'home' for well over twenty years - to the next level.

We had been promoted.

We had been promoted. And damn, it felt really, really good.


It was a day, and a season for Bradford Park Avenue fans to cherish today, as Adam Chabukiani led his team to promotion to Conference National for the first time since its formation.

Some supporters of Avenue that watched the 3-2 victory in the National League North Play-Off Final yesterday were old enough to remember the events of 1974. Bradford Park Avenue went into liquidation in 1974, immediately restarting as a Sunday League club.

Since the club's entrance into the Northern Premier League in 2001, these fans of the club have never looked back.

Under numerous manager's, the club has gone up and up the spiral staircase of non-league football, and now they will find themselves playing in the final step towards the Football League next season. Dr John Dean has seemed to hit the nail on the head with Adam Chabukiani.

The Georgian-born Englishman has brought a new type of football for the Bradford Park Avenue fans to relish. His fast-flowing, attacking football has seen his team rise to the top scorer in the National League North, with 86 goals scored and a goal difference of +40.

The Bradford City legend put this display on the maximum yesterday, in front of 4,522 fans - the biggest home crowd of the season at Horsfall Stadium - in the most important fixture of the season.

The opening goal came from a wonderful free-kick from midfield dynamo Paul Marshall within the first ten minutes of the game kicking off. Marshall let fly a left-footed knuckle ball free-kick that flew past Tyson's flailing arms for Bradford to take an early lead.

Again, it wasn't long before a second Bradford goal went into the Stockport net, this time from Adam Pepper in the 23rd minute. A quick triangle between midfield veteran Julio Arca, top scorer Matthew Fletcher, who laid the ball off perfectly into the path of Pepper's darting run into the box found the near-post of Tyson's goal.

The rest of the first half was reasonably quiet apart from a Jack Hallahan effort hitting the crossbar before sailing over the short stand, requiring for a new ball to take to the field.

In typical Chabukiani fashion, Bradford added a third goal through Matthew Fletcher and his 39th goal of the season, just four minutes after the break.

A Stockport throw-in deep inside Bradford's half somehow found it's way to Julio Arca inside his own box. The Argentinian fired a long pass up towards Fletcher, all on his own up-front. The Australian laid the ball back to Adam Pepper before making his run in between the centre-back and right-back, to which Pepper found Fletcher perfectly with a through pass. Fletcher still had to get past Stockport's Ellison on the edge of the box, which he did so with ease before slotting in Bradford's third goal at the near post once again.

Jean-Michel Fontaine began to sound the alarm bells in Adam Chabukiani's mind as all was looking well for his team, with two goals in the last twenty minutes.

A failed backpass by Simon Ainge to Nick Liversedge was intercepted by the lethal striker, before rounding 28-year-old Liversedge, making an open goal for Fontaine to pass the ball in to.

Bradford Park Avenue were caught napping at the back once again, as Stockport's Cvetko sent over a 'route one' ball over the top for Fontaine to latch on to, before calmly placing it past Liversedge for the second time in five minutes.

Adam Chabukiani called for a tightening up at the back for the remaining ten minutes, which ultimately saw the promotion of Bradford Park Avenue in the Georgian's debut season in football management. A great result undoubtedly followed up by a few drinks as we write this.
24 May 2016

"Lee? Where are you? I asked Lee Payne, my new agent. "It's showtime,"

"I'm just around the corner now, mite, see you two," he replied in his cockney accent. God I hated cockneys. No wonder they put a 'cock' in their label.

I said to him it was 'showtime'. We weren't going to a musical or anything, don't worry, we're not that far into a relationship. Dr John Dean had personally called me for a discussion about my contract at the club.

There he was, Mr Payne, pulling up in his white Range Rover. I had to say myself that the car looked neat, as much as I disliked Lee.

But I couldn't dislike him if he made me money, surely? No, it wasn't that. I'm very happy to despise someone even if they're making me more money than I'd get a lone ranger. He was just a detestable person. Whether it was the accent, the poncey blonde flick in his hair, his oily face, I don't know, I just hated the bloke.

I shook his hand as he approached me. I hated it. It had to be the fakest handshake I've ever given.

"How ya doing, mite?" oh God, there it was again. 'mite'. It's 'mate', you twat.

I tried my best to hide my disdain for the man. Or whatever he was. A snake? No. a Moth? I hated moths. I hated Lee. Perfect!

"Yeah," I said through gritted teeth. "Not bad, you?"

"Yeah, just bought myself some mints, fancy one?" he said, pointing the open packet of mints towards my face.

Don't take anything from him. Don't eat anything from him I thought to myself. Too late. I popped the mint in my mouth.

"Cheers," I said.

Inside I was saying 'make me some money and piss off, for God's sake'.

"Congratulations on getting promoted, by the way, I always knew you had the bottle," he said with a smile plastered across his face.

"Cheers," I said once again. I don't know if I was actually trying to show I hated him now.

I leaded the way as we headed towards Dr Dean's office. I knocked slowly but loudly on the door. Gareth Roberts opened the door for us, he shook hands with us both upon our entrance. Walking in, I saw the table that Dr Dean was head of. He pointed towards our seats after shaking his hand.

"And this is?" asked Dr Dean, looking at Lee Payne who had just taken his seat beside me.

"Lee Payne. Head of Full Contact Agency in West London. I'm representing Mr Chabukiani today," he informed the chairman.

"Agent, ey, Adam?" Gareth Roberts winked at me. "We don't want to be left penniless after this, you know!"

"Leave it, Mr Roberts," laughed John Dean. "I presume you know why you are here today?"

"Absolutely, Dr Dean," Lee Payne said. I gave him a death stare. Can he stop butting in? This is my chairman, not yours!

"OK, good, so wha-" Dr Dean was cut off by Payne mid-sentence.

"Let's make this simple, sir," he said, staring at Dean dead in the eye. "My client, he wants £500 per week, we're not having such thing as relegation wage drops, he wants a 30% promotion wage rise, an annual wage rise of 15% and 45% of club compensation if he was to accept another role, and that would total to £14,000 if these terms are accepted,"

Payne gave me a wink as he finished, I stared at him with my mouth hung open.

"I think we're going to have to nego-" Dr Dean was cut off by by mouthy agent once more.

"Dr Dean, I'm not sure you understand what you have here with Mr Chabukiani," he explained. "This man has won you promotion in his debut season in football management, and you think he's not worth what I'm saying. You're right, he's not. He's worth double.

"My client here has little over a month left on his contract which means that at the end of June, he will leave, you won't receive any money, and you will have to start over again with a different manager. That isn't a threat, it's the truth. It's that or me and my client go elsewhere, have you not checked the news lately? Every club from League One below want this bloke's credentials, and you could be potentially throwing that away because you're a cheapskate,"

Wow. I thought to myself. I made eye-contact with Dr Dean. I looked at Lee Payne doing the exact same thing. This bloke knows how to speak.

Dr Dean gave Gareth Robert's, who was sat beside him a short look in the eye. It was to be the look of approval.

"OK," he said. "That's it now. We are going no higher than you are already pushing us,"

"I'm glad," Payne told Dr Dean. "It would have been a shame to lose someone like Mr Chabukiani. I'm happy you've realised how important he is,"
That agent seems an idiot cutting him off all the time :P Good to see you staying at the club though!
Yes!! Promotion :D
Amazing work, really great archievement.
Stockport really wanted to get back in the game in this Final, but great win, it's a fair victory.
Congratulations man ;)
Where are ü now
27 May 2016

It was booming in PRYZM, Leeds, as I went out to celebrate my new contract with the lads. There was me, Gavin, Andy Jackson and Levi Andrew - who was part of the scouting team at Bradford Park Avenue.

Beautiful women everywhere, a nice mix of 80's, 90's and today's house music going out on all speakers, men in the toilets either barfing down the bowl or snorting powder, this place was a place between heaven and hell and I loved it.

The first drinks were on me, as I had proposed in the taxi on the way to PRYZM, and they sunk down our necks like a first blow in a boxing match - a bit of a punch to get you going for the rest of the night.

I had £2,000 coming in each month with my new deal and I was spending the first batch all on tonight.

The chairman didn't know me or Levi were going out tonight, he would've no doubt stamped it out as a big no-no. But we didn't care, it was our lives, it was the end of the season, we were going up and I had a new contract to celebrate - it was wrong not to go out tonight.

It was a fiery Friday night in the bar and I realised just how old we looked compared to the average person in this club.

I had to go and take a break though, with my smoking habit getting in the way of the one of my drinking. No one else in the group that was out tonight smoked, so it was just me.

"Hey," the woman that walked over to me could have graced any billboard or magazine cover, but she was better than those two dimensional photoshopped models. There was a shyness to her, hesitation in her body movements and a softness in her voice.

"Hello there," that came out awfully, but I was so taken aback by this woman's desire to speak to me. I sounded like some cowboy... not a cowboy, but... oh I don't know!

"And what do you think you're doing outside, there's a whole club full of ladies in there!" she questioned my location, leaning against the club's windows.

"Me?" yes, you, who else is she speaking to?! "I'm just chilling, gets a bit hot in there, you know," I explained. I sounded like a real lightweight saying that. Or am I overthinking this whole encounter? Calm down, Adam.

"So it seems," she laughed, raising her arm to touch her hair slightly. In body language that means a girl likes you? Fancies you? Does she fancy me? She can't fancy me? "Do you fancy a drink? It might cool you down a bit, who knows?" she winked at me.

"Well, err, I have som-" I stopped there, was I really turning down this beautiful brunette for some dull old mates. "Sure," I smiled.

I walked in with the lady, studying her from behind. She had magnificent curves, not like your plank of wood, long, lovely black hair. I wasn't sure if it was the dark lighting outside but I swore she had a darker skin tone, like mixed race? Slightly Eastern or Mediterranean look about her.

I was panicking, hoping that my friends wouldn't see me with this lady and potentially ruining my date with her. If this whole thing was a date, of course. I decided to keep my head facing the girl instead of turning over to look out for bad company every two seconds.

"I didn't catch your name, darling," I smiled at her. Was my smile too big? Was it creepy? STOP PANICKING.

"Alisha," she replied with a gleaming smile, even her teeth were perfect, shimmering white like crystals in the light. "And yours?"

"I'm Adam. Adam Chabukiani,"

"And what do you do 'Adam Chabukiani'?" she asked.

"Oh, nothing, I'm not into drugs and all that," I replied.

Alisha gave me a kind of bewildered look as I responded to her question. Wait... what do I do? She means jobs! That is embarrassing!

"Oh! What do I do for work!"

"Yes..." she hung onto the last 's' for what seemed like forever.

"I am a football manager... for Bradford Park Avenue," it was as though the name of the club I managed tarred the title of 'football manager' with a bad name.

"I see!" she smiled.

"And you do?"

"I've just finished my Dental Nursing degree at Leeds Uni, so I'm buzzing. Hoping to get a job in that sooner or later," I smiled at her enthusiasm, I was genuinely happy for her! "So, Chabukiani, foreign name? Where's your family from, if it's not a rude question,"

"Absolutely not, I'm from Georgia, I moved to England as a refugee in 1992 during the Abkhazian War and lived here ever since," I explained.

"Wow, that's incredible!" she said as she took her first sip of her red wine.

I smiled back at her. "It was a terrible time, but you know, happened a while ago now. I don't dwell on it,"

"Adam, I'm not being funny or anything, but can we like get out of here after I've finished my drink. I don't really like the vibe here," I turned around to see what she was looking at. It was Gavin, my friend, throwing up all over the wooden floor. I daren't say anything about knowing him.

"Jesus," I said. "Sure, do you want to come back to my place?" I said it as casually as possible, so it didn't hurt as much if she denied my chance of sex tonight.

"Sounds perfect," she winked at me. That definitely meant sex.

"Drink up then!" I playfully demanded.

We grabbed the first taxi back to my place after Alisha finished her glass of wine and I had finished my beer. We had more back at my house, where I had stocked up for weeks on wine, vodka, beer, gin, you name it.

"Adam!" Alisha called me as she finished her fifth glass of gin and tonic. "Where do I find your bathroom, darling?!"

I had an en suite bathroom at my house, so she had to go through my bedroom to get to it. "You just go into my bedroom and it's on the left!" I shouted through to the living room where she was initially watching TV.

I don't have to tell you what happened in the bedroom.
ITS BACK!!!!! :) :) :)

Chabukiani Bags Manager of the Season

It comes to no surprise that Bradford Park Avenue gaffer Adam Chabukiani has won the Vanarama National League North Manager of the Season Award for the 2015/16 season.

The managerial newcomer has shocked everyone by managing promotion via the Play-Offs with a formerly substandard Park Avenue left behind by John Deacey at the end of last season.

The new Head Coach implemented a whole new staffing regime, in which he gave jobs to eleven men. Not only did this give the new man plenty of backroom support, but all of his new members of staff have barely hit the age of forty, creating a more youthful atmosphere to the club.

There was a lot more that gave Chabukiani the success he had this season than just staff, the Georgian has brought in a sustainable group of young players which will mostly be in place next season in a higher division.

For example, Matthew Fletcher has scored the most amount of goals across the top six levels of English football this season, with 38 coming in the league, and 41 in all competitions. Chabukiani will be expecting more of the same in the National League next season.

The winter signings of Julio Arca and Sanchez Watt are also notable mentions on the signings side of things.

The 28-year-old manager won 51% of his games this season as he led Bradford Park Avenue to a 3-2 Play-Off Final win over Stockport County at Horsfall Stadium.

He managed to win it over 2nd placed Billy Heath of North Ferriby United and 3rd placed Kevin Wilkin of 8th placed Brackley Town.

More is yet to come from Adam Chabukiani, and no doubt his young, hard-working group of backroom staff will grow in ability with the young man from Sukumi in the same fashion Adam did himself not just a few years ago.

Oseni Arrives As Bradford Build Momentum

As the new Vanarama National League season quickly approaches, now is the best time for Bradford Park Avenue gaffer Adam Chabukiani to bolster his squad.

Following Avenue's Play-Off success last season in the sixth tier of English football, life is beginning for the young Georgian as he takes the step up into the next tier.

With competition in the transfer market rather hectic in the summer, with promoted teams like Bradford looking to bolster their side to ensure survival - or maybe more - as well as relegated teams cutting down on costs by raising as much funds for life in the lower tier, Adam Chabukiani has gone ahead and brought in his first man.

Nathaniel Oseni, the Manchester City youth graduate is the first man to join the ranks of the Class of 2016/17 under Chabukiani in the National League.

The youngster failed to make any appearances under a City side ran by Manuel Pellegrini, understandably due to the likes of Ótamendi, Kompany and Mangala occupying the first-team spots at the Etihad Stadium.

The 19-year-old centre-back is looking for a new lease of life at Horsfall Stadium as he takes a four-tier step down in the English leagues to join Bradford Park Avenue.

Oseni is said to be 'delighted' at the opportunity to work under Chabukiani at his new club in West Yorkshire.

Oseni signs on a free transfer following release from Manchester City a few days ago, earning a weekly salary of £130 per week.

In other Bradford-related news, Luke Dean and Alex Pursehouse's contracts at Horsfall Stadium have expired, but will remain on month-to-month deals at the club until they or Chabukiani decides to sack them off.

Veteran midfielder Danny Schofield has also run down to the expiration of his contract at the club, but he is now discussing a permanent move to the backroom staff behind Adam Chabukiani.

Ten Players Extend Horsfall Stay

With hopes of continuity from Bradford Park Avenue manager Adam Chabukiani, he has tied down ten mainstay players in his side to new deals.

Following the recent signing of Nathaniel Oseni from Manchester City on a free transfer and the expiration of Luke Dean's and Alex Pursehouse's contracts at Horsfall Stadium, Chabukiani has decided to hand ten of his first-team players new contracts at the club.

With the semi-professional stature of the newly-promoted National League side, contractual agreements can only stretch out to part-time deals until Dr John Dean begins the process of making the club professional.

This means Bradford are only allowed to hand two-year contracts out at maximum stay every season.

Matthew Fletcher, last seasons top scorer in English football across all divisions was of course the first man on Chabukiani's checklist. The Australian poacher has agreed a one-year extension to his current deal, keeping him at the Horsfall until June 2018.

Other players to sign one-year extensions consisted of midfielders Paul Marshall, Michael Potts, Adam Pepper, defenders Luke Greaves and Caner Dumlupinar. Goalkeeper Myles Wright has also agreed to a one-year extension.

Only three players out of the ten have signed two-year extensions, with Jack Hallahan, Sanchez Watt and Kasjusz Piwowarczyk agreeing deals until 2019.

Surprise exclusions from contract renewals range from last seasons 'Signing of the Season' Julio Arca, who turned 35 on the last day of June to number one keeper Nick Liversedge, who played 51 games last season compared to Myles Wright's two appearances which earned him a new deal.

The manager has told fans to expect more players arriving, but you can imagine from the high amount of new deals being handed out that Chabukiani wants a feeling of uninteruptedness around his team in the coming years.
Lets hope Adam's faith in these guys is repaid with some quality performances. Especially Matt Fletcher, gotta love a story where an Aussie is killing it! ;)

Busy Period at Horsfall Stadium

With Bradford Park Avenue boss Adam Chabukiani quickly approaching his second season in charge of The Stans, only a couple remain from the John Deacey era, with the club bringing in three more signings.

Michael Potts, Paul Marshall and Alex Pursehouse are all playing 'last-man standing' over at the Horsfall Stadium as the Georgian boss slowly disassemble the squad he inherited from former gaffer John Deacey.

This past week, Paul Walker has been released from the club, as well as Luke Dean who officially departed the club on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Dean left the club to join Darlington 1883 after his contract at Horsfall Stadium expired and fell into non-contract terms. Dean joins Darlington in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League after The Quakers narrowly missed out on automatic promotion to Salford City last season.

Also leaving the club is Simon Ainge, who leaves Bradford to join fellow National League outfit Eastleigh for a fee of £15,000. The centre-back rejoined Bradford for the first time since 2010 in 2014 under John Deacey from Halifax Town.

Other players like Marcel Barrington, who joined in January 2016 under Chabukiani has ended his short spell at the club by signing on with Kidderminster Harriers after ten appearances last season for Avenue. Jordan Holt has also been released from the club.

But perhaps the most shocking departure this summer has gone to Forest Green Rovers, as Julio Arca joins Adrian Pennock's team for a sizeable fee of £25,000. The midfield veteran was named Signing of the Season last term as the Argentinian bagged a 7.55 average rating according to from 30 appearances, with one goal to his name.

Among the departures though, are three new, youthful signings as Chabukiani snaps up youngsters Robbie McCourt, Samir Nabi and Anthony Breslin on free transfers.

McCourt and Breslin, both of Irish heritage, were released by Midlands teams West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers respectively this summer.

McCourt, 18, is a capped Ireland Under-19's player and started his career over in Ireland at St. Kevin's before getting snapped up by Alan Irvine's West Brom in 2014. He is said to be a good marker, as well as possessing a great aerial ability, despite not reaching the six foot mark.

Breslin, one year older than McCourt is a left-back to cover the vacancy left behind by former Bradford man Jordan Holt. Breslin possesses natural pace, which is great for a full-back at this level, as well as good defending attributes.

The better signing out of this trio seems to be 18-year-old midfielder Samir Nabi, who joins from West Brom along with Robbie McCourt. The youngster has a great turn of pace, likened to that of Riyad Mahrez of Leicester City, as well as being declared an 'all-round' midfielder with a 'superb shot'. The signing of Nabi seems to be a replacement for Julio Arca's departure.
2 July 2016

The Jeremy Kyle Show. With Alisha. God, how I love this.

Since that night at PRYZM, me and Alisha had been meeting up regularly and we could now call ourselves an 'official' couple. She had moved in with me and we'd began sleeping together. I'd never been so happy in my life.

On Jeremy Kyle, there was some bloke on there complaining how he didn't know if he was the father to his supposed child and whatnot. It all kicked off basically, provoking a bit of a giggle from the two of us on the couch. A nice reminder that we were not them.

Mid-argument on the show, our landline started ringing. We knew that if it was the landline calling, it was either some shithead trying to scam you or 'claim PPI', or some actually important business with Dr John Dean.

Realising the possibility of the call being John, I told Alisha I would get the phone, as I lifted myself slowly off the cream suite I had just installed into my living room. It blended in lovely with the lightly shaded walls.

I picked up the phone laid on the desk in the middle of the hallway.

"Adam?" it was Dr Dean.

"Good afternoon, Mr Chairman," I said as I briefly turned to smile at Alisha. "What have you got for me today, then?"

"Well, you see Adam, I think it's time for a celebration because our profits have just been published, and by God it's good," Dean shouted gleefully.

"That's great news, Doctor, may you summarise it for me?" I asked.

"just under £175,000 in profit," said the chairman with a deep breath to contain his excitement. "£250,000 of our income last season was just from gate receipts!

"Jesus Christ, John!" I said in disbelief. £175,000?! That's preposterous!

"It's not just that, Adam, we're setting up a big game for preseason. West Ham at home, a guaranteed £60,000 from that game alone," the chairman was now starting to hit me with some real figures now - this was huge.

"Ay, Mr Chairman, I say Luigi's tomorrow at seven, bring your wife, bring the directors, let's have a party," I ordered the chairman.

"Without a doubt, good day Mr Chabukiani!"

"And you too, Mr Chairman!"

Alisha smiled at me, knowing it was good news. "Well?..." she asked impatiently.

£175,000 profit in the last year," I repeated the topic of mine and Dr Dean's conversation. "We're going to Luigi's tomorrow for a celebration so I'd go and get your dress sorted," I winked at her before she headed off to our bedroom.
Jack's avatar Group Jack
8 yearsEdited

I think that this preseason has been one of the most successful for any club at our playing level and even many leagues above, with seven of our nine opponents coming in higher divisions in either England or Scotland. Our first game of preseason was also our only away game, with the main focus to attract profits rather than a wider fan base.


Over the course of preseason, we have signed five new players, and letting go of seven players:

We play Gateshead in our first National League match of the season.

You are reading "Adam Chabukiani: Defying All Odds".

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